Jack ThumbnailBy Jack McShane

Once in a while something happens in the natural world that humans, with our great intellect, have no explanation for, only wild guesses. The following is an example. Some good friends, Ann Roberti, Tom Miano and Fred Reckner, ventured up Balsam Lake Mountain one evening hoping to catch a glimpse, or at least the call, of the rare Bicknells Thrush whose habitat is the balsam tops of our Catskill mountains.

Arriving at the peak, shedding their packs, and sitting in anticipation of a call or a sighting, they were instead surprised by a visitation of a very friendly snowshoe rabbit. The critter hopped up to them as if to say, “Hello, and welcome to my back yard,” then proceeded to check out their gear before hopping down the trail. This incident which involved a rabbit, a prey species with many enemies, including man, really had no easy explanation. Why the fearlessness?  Are hikers feeding the critters or inadvertently leaving carrots lying around? I really do not think so. One theory that entered my mind was that it was a male in hot pursuit of a female in estrus that had previously passed. After all, males of all species, including humans, sometimes do daring, even stupid, things when in hot pursuit.


The fearless rabbit poses for a portrait

This is what Ann had to say: “He actually seemed to come when we spoke. Tom thought that he was looking for a handout, but I don’t think so. He showed no interest in my feigned tossing of something. It seemed more that he was just curious about us. We speculated that when he met another rabbit he would say, ‘I saw people up there on the mountain top and you should have seen how close they let me get to them!’ ”

Definitely a cool and inexplicable incident.~